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Northern Illinois ‘Google farmer’ researches regenerative approach | Agriculture

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DEKALB — Matt Gehrke is sometimes surprised he could have farmed 240 acres of land in northern Illinois for so many years and known so little about soil.

Time wise, it was becoming too difficult to crop his 240 acres and carry on the more than 90-year-old family construction business, so the carpenter by trade stepped back from farming and concentrated on the contracting business.

Then, he learned his wife Christa and three daughters, especially Maggie, wanted to stay involved in agriculture. The family determined that if they did so, they would produce grass-fed beef and do it sustainably.

So eight years ago, they started Gehrke Grass-Fed Beef on 43 acres of land.

Gehrke was one of the speakers at the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association’s Evening with Innovators on Sept. 16. Known as DAAHA, the organization preserves memorabilia and promotes an understanding and appreciation of innovations in agriculture in northern…

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